After several days spent in Yangon, we headed north to Bagan, this was one place I was excited to explore and to watch the sun setting over the sea of pagodas that are spread across this area.
After a 10 hour bus jounrey we arrived in Bagan, checking into our accommation, we were informed they had been overbooked and to our luck we had been upgraded for the night with no further charge. We headed straight out afterwards to find some dinner, this wasnt much effort.
In bagan I found it was definately more a haven for tourists, with so many resturants and tourist offices, for hiring scooters, booking tours especially for hot air ballon trips that are spread across the town.
We decided to spend 3 days in Bagan, which I believe is ideal if you really want to explore the many temples. Hiring a scooter sets you back around 6,000 kyats for a day 4.50US$. This is definately the best way to see the area, having the freedom to stop and explore.
With over 3,000 temples, its situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy river, some of them date back to the 10th century, although due to a recent earthquake, there is damage to a few of them.
Our first day we literally visited so many of temples and some of golden pagodas, we were really overwhelmed with how incredible they were. With many markets surrounding the bigger and popular pagodas, we were approached on many occasions with things which the locals wanted to sell to us.
The locals however were so friendly and smiley, even enjoyed a nice conversation with a local burmese family, who created sand paintings as a living, a very competitve business as we saw so many whilst in this area.
They use the sand from the banks of the Irrawaddy river. I was surpised how good their english was, mostly learnt from the tourists. As we found many locals
only spend a couple of years in education due to the costs.
Watching the sunset across Bagan was on my bucket list, so witnessing this was just an increible moment for myself. Although I found we were met by every tourist on one pagoda, we still managed to get a good spot.
Our accommation Shwe Nadi Guest house, was situated in a good spot, amongst many shops and resturants, with friendly and helpful staff, that included a good breakfast. I would recommend this place, its also ideal if your on a budget.
Early morning routine for the monks in Bagan.
Whilst in bagan we decided to get up at 430am to see the sunrise, riding through the streets in pitch black was an experience, but many other tourists were doing the same thing. Climbing up one of the temples was a little scary for myself, especially in flip flops, but once at a higher level I could see why. Wintessing the darkness disppear into light was relieving, however our experience was quite disappointing as it was very cloudy and overcast so the sunrise was less impressive.
Baganhouse Lacquerware shop is also a place worth visiting, learning about the process of how things are made from bamboo from the workers themselves was so interesting. The showroom is made quite stylish, with a mix of cheap and expensive lacquerware, we were welcomed with a cup of green tea and seasame cookies which were a hit, I also brought a pretty designed bracelet which was only 2 dollars.
I found most places prefer you to pay in the local currency, as a tip paying in dollars it will always be more expensive.
Bagan is a beautiful town, and definately my favoutite place so far in Myanmar.